Crowds of locals gathered on the shores of Manus Island to watch members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) and HMAS Choules march side by side to commemorate the 34th Anniversary of the Manus Provincial Government Day.
The colourful day celebrates the recognition of the government of the Manus Province and sees hundreds of school children, government workers and defence personnel march down the main road of Lorengau while traditional drums are beaten.
Governor of the Manus Province, Mr Charlie Benjamin, said he was extremely happy to see members of HMAS Choules participating in the event.
“It has really made this day a very special occasion,” said Mr Benjamin.
“The last time we saw Australians marching with us was in 1975.”
The contingent participated in the parade at the invitation of the Base Commander of HMPNGS Tarangau, Commander (CMDR) Peter Tupma, after positive achievements between the two defence forces under the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) in the area.
“For us to have a parade like this involving your troops and ours is a significant day for us” said CMDR Tupma.
“It lifted the morale of the people. After the parade I heard people saying that they’ve seen this before and it’s good to see it again.”
Seven HMAS Choules members marched in the parade and 12 members were spectators of the event with the CO HMAS Choules, Commander Ashley Papp, being formally received by the parade as part of the VIP party.
HMAS Choules is currently anchored off Manus Island and is utilising the opportunity to participate in a number of DCP initiatives with PNGDF members based at the HMPNGS Tarangau in areas such as health, engineering and sport.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20131239.